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Get a taste of Hangzhou with 20 local dishes

Reporter: Hu Nan 丨 CCTV.com

08-29-2016 10:30 BJT

Full coverage: G20 Hangzhou Summit

Hangzhou is well-known for its exquisite cuisine. Light, fresh, and soft are probably the most frequently used words for Hangzhou cuisine. It is recognized as one of the eight major schools of cuisine in China.

Hangzhou dishes are known for their elaborate and sophisticated preparation, enjoyable presentation, and delicate cooking methods. That exquisiteness may have its roots stemmed from history, some 800 years ago. That is when Hangzhou was the capital of the country.

Hu Zhongying is known as one of the “10 most famous chefs” in China. He spent half a century cooking and perfecting Hangzhou cuisine.

“With thousands of years of history behind us, every dish and its relative historical figures are noted in book, so Chinese culture puts much importance in cooking and makes it a culinary art. Hangzhou cuisine uses less oil, sugar and starch, which fits the nutrition concepts of people nowadays” said Hu.

His most famous dishes include West Lake Fish in Vinegar Gravy, Shelled Shrimp with Green Tea, Beggar’s Chicken, Fried Bells, Squirrel Fish, Dongpo Pork, Thousand Islands Lake Fish Soup, and dozens of others that are luring gourmands from all over the world. But only a few will be served at the G20 summit dining table.

The city has more than 5,000 years of history, and every traditional Hangzhou dish has its own interesting story. Twenty dishes will be served during the summit; many of them salty and sweet, reflecting traditional Hangzhou cuisine.

Hangzhou cuisine emphasizes fresh seafood and produce, like bamboo shoots, and sauces with subtle and mellow flavors. The goal is to accentuate, not overpower, a dish’s leading ingredient.

“Shrimp with Green Tea and West Lake Vinegar Fish are traditional Hangzhou dishes. In Hangzhou’s most well-known restarurant, the four traditional dishes can make 100 million yearly revenue. That reflects the public acceptance of Hangzhou cuisine,” said Ye Chi, Secretary General of Hangzhou Food and Beverage Industry Association.

“The dishes we especially designed for the G20 summit can also be promoted to ordinary restaurants for the public.”

Hangzhou cuisine is widely celebrated in China but practically unheard of in the West. Many foreigners are more familiar with fiery Sichuan dishes and the Cantonese dim sum, or the sweet Peking duck and succulent Shanghai soup dumplings. The G20 summit might be a platform for Hangzhou cuisine to add some flavor to the global gourmet’s table.

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